nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2010‒11‒13
sixteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini

  1. The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization By Alberto Bisin; Thierry Verdier
  2. The Protestant Ethic and Work: Micro Evidence from Contemporary Germany By Spenkuch, Jörg L.
  3. The dimensions of social capital and rural development: evidence from Water Communities in the Republic of Macedonia By Gorton, Matthew; Sauer, Johannes; Peshevski, Mile; Bosev, Dane; Shekerinov, Darko; Quarrie, Steve
  4. Networks as determinants of rural migration By Zarnekow, Nana; Henning, Christian H.C.A
  5. Conspicuous distinction: a reading of Veblen and Bourdieu By Isabel Guimarães; Eva Oliveira; M. Rocha
  6. Voluntary giving and economic growth: Time series evidence for the US By Heinemann, Friedrich
  7. The role of social trust in reducing long-term truancy and forming human capital in Japan By Yamamura, Eiji
  8. Norms, Culture and Local Infrastructure: Evidence from a Decentralised Economy By Pal, Sarmistha
  9. The Puzzle of Social Preferences By Jordi Brandts; Enrique Fatas
  10. The influence of migration processes on rural development: a case study from Scotland By Bergmann, Holger; Thompson, Kenneth J.
  11. Regional Variation in Informal Employment: Skills, Norms, and Government Effectiveness By Jonasson, Erik
  12. Network connections and innovation capacity in traditional agrifood chains By Kuhne, Bianka; Gellynck, Xavier; Weaver, R.D.
  13. Collective Action, Clientelism and Connectivity By Mahvish Shami
  14. Some Inquiries to Spontaneous Opinions: A case with Twitter in Indonesia By Maulana, Ardian; Situngkir, Hokky
  15. Islam and Democracy By Niklas Potrafke
  16. Legitimate Punishment, Feedback, and the Enforcement of Cooperation By Marco Faillo; Daniela Grieco; Luca Zarri

  1. By: Alberto Bisin; Thierry Verdier
    Abstract: Cultural transmission arguably plays an important role in the determination of many fundamental preference traits (e.g., discounting, risk aversion and altruism) and most cultural traits, social norms, and ideological tenets ( e.g., attitudes towards family and fertility practices, and attitudes in the job market). It is, however, the pervasive evidence of the resilience of ethnic and religious traits across generations that motivates a large fraction of the theoretical and empirical literature on cultural transmission. This article reviews the main contributions of models of cultural transmission, from theoretical and empirical perspectives. It presents their implications regarding the long-run population dynamics of cultural traits and cultural heterogeneity, the world's geographical fragmentation by ethic and religious traits, at any given time. Finally, the paper reviews the empirical literature which estimates various properties of cultural transmission mechanisms as well as the population dynamics of specific traits.
    JEL: Z1
    Date: 2010–11
  2. By: Spenkuch, Jörg L.
    Abstract: Few theories in the social sciences have gained more widespread acceptance than Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism—despite a lack of conclusive empirical evidence. At the core of Weber’s theory lies a connection between Protestantism and attitudes toward work. Using micro-data from contemporary Germany, this paper investigates the impact of Protestantism on economic outcomes and whether any such connection still exists. To break the endogeneity in religious affiliation the paper exploits the fact that the geographic distribution of Catholics and Protestants is an artifact of a provision in the Peace of Augsburg in 1555. Reduced form and instrumental variable estimates indicate that, even today, Protestantism leads to higher earnings through increased hours of work, and substantially more self-employment. Institutional factors, or differences in human capital acquisition cannot account for this effect. Instead, the data point to an explanation based on individual values akin to a Protestant Ethic.
    Keywords: religion; economic effects of religion; Protestantism; impact of Protestantism; Reformation
    JEL: Z12 N3 J0
    Date: 2010–11–04
  3. By: Gorton, Matthew; Sauer, Johannes; Peshevski, Mile; Bosev, Dane; Shekerinov, Darko; Quarrie, Steve
    Abstract: Drawing on Nahapiet and Ghoshal's (1998) distinction between the structural, relational, and cognitive dimensions of social capital, this paper analyses the performance of Water Communities (WCs) in the Bregalnica region of the Republic of Macedonia. WCs are farmer-managed local irrigation systems which are critical to livelihoods in Bregalnica. Data on the performance of the WCs and role of social capital was collected via in-depth interviews and a farm survey (n=249) of both members and non-members. Results highlight the importance of social capital in explaining the decision to join a WC, the satisfaction of members with their WC, and payment behaviour.
    Keywords: social capital, rural development, irrigation, rural development, Community/Rural/Urban Development, O13, P32, Q15,
    Date: 2010–08
  4. By: Zarnekow, Nana; Henning, Christian H.C.A
    Abstract: This paper focuses on networks as determinants of rural migration and the importance of networks in a rural development perspective. Furthermore the impact of public goods and amenities on migration decisions in rural regions is investigated. Special attention is paid on heterogeneity in peoples migration-decisive components. Data base is a non-farm household-survey of four rural communities in Poland. The estimations show that migration decisions are influenceable in different ways: Social networks as well as socio-economic components and the regional public-good endowment are important drivers of migration, but the direction and amount of influence depends on individual-preferences and on individual network-structures - among other things especially on the network-localization.
    Keywords: Migration, rural development, social networks, latent class model, Community/Rural/Urban Development, R23, D83, H41,
    Date: 2010–08
  5. By: Isabel Guimarães (Faculdade de Economia e Gestão, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Porto)); Eva Oliveira (Faculdade de Economia e Gestão, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Porto)); M. Rocha (Faculdade de Economia e Gestão, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Porto))
    Abstract: The paper provides a comparative reading of two influential works of Veblen and Bourdieu, on cultural consumption. Approaches to consumers’ taste and preferences are predominantly essentialist. However, Veblen and Bourdieu focused on the relationship between consumption and social divisions. Their views are, nonetheless, contrasting. Veblen developed a somewhat speculative approach centred on waste and conspicuous consumption as evidence for the natural quest for social honour. Bourdieu drew on empirical research to argue that culture stems from class and is related to necessity. The concepts of habitus, cultural capital and field interact to provide a complex and detailed account of different tastes emerging within different social classes. The result is a variegated social space with different statuses and an ongoing struggle for the definition of ‘good” and “bad” taste.
    Keywords: conspicuous consumption, social distinction, cultural capital, field, habitus
    Date: 2010–10
  6. By: Heinemann, Friedrich
    Abstract: This study analyzes the sensitivity of US giving to both business cycle fluctuations and trend growth. With tax revenues as a point of reference, US giving constitutes a relatively stable source of revenue. Total giving is characterized by a business cycle volatility which is comparable to the moderate one of indirect taxes. However, this overall finding is composed of the respective sub-components' very different short-run GDP-elasticities. Individual and, to an even larger extent, corporate giving is quite sensitive to cyclical fluctuations. By contrast, foundation giving and charitable bequests tend to stabilize total giving over the business cycle. The macro estimates for the income elasticities lie in the upper band of the well researched micro-estimates. This is consistent with a social multiplier view according to which individual giving is mutually reinforcing. --
    Keywords: charitable giving,social multiplier,error-correction-model
    JEL: H27 H41 C22
    Date: 2010
  7. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: This paper attempts to examine how social trust influences human capital formation using prefectural level data in Japan. To this end, I constructed a proxy for social trust, based on the Japanese General Social Surveys. After controlling for socioeconomic factors, I found that social trust plays an important role in reducing the rate of long-term truancy in primary and junior high school. Results suggest that social trust improves educational quality.
    Keywords: human capital; educational economics; economic impact
    JEL: I21 Z13
    Date: 2010–11–01
  8. By: Pal, Sarmistha (Brunel University)
    Abstract: Culture as reflected in social and religious norms may be pivotal to social organization in a decentralised economy where local authorities are responsible for the provision of local public goods. We distinguish between individualist and collectivist cultures to argue that collectivist culture may promote rules to indulge in family, social and religious values at the cost of individual values promoting material objects and may thus result in inefficient choice of pubic goods. We use Indonesia as a case in point to classify communities strictly adhering to traditional adat laws and Islamic religion as promoting collectivist culture. Results using 1997 and 2007 Indonesian Family Life Survey community-level panel data highlight that, even after controlling for other variables, traditional collectivist communities strongly adhering to adat and Islam tend to have significantly greater access to social (rather than physical) infrastructural goods; similar pattern is reflected in the allocation of community spending to these goods.
    Keywords: decentralization, collectivist culture, adat law, Islam, social and physical infrastructure, allocation of spending, community development, Indonesia
    JEL: D02 H41 O43 P51
    Date: 2010–10
  9. By: Jordi Brandts (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Instituto de Análisis Económico (CSIC)); Enrique Fatas (Universidad de València)
    Abstract: We present a brief overview of the experimental economics literature on social preferences. In numerous experiments, economically incentivized subjects are willing to sacrifice part of their material earnings to compensate the kind behavior of others, or will be willing to reciprocate at a non-negligible cost, or even pay a positive price for punishing the behavior of selfish individuals. All these actions are labeled as social in economics because there is no apparent way to reconcile them with any reasonable form of pure self-interest. We focus on social dilemma games and want to communicate two main messages. First, research in experimental economics has produced abundant evidence that illustrates the social components of people’s preferences. Second, social sanctions of different types play an important role in facilitating cooperative behavior.
    Date: 2010–10–01
  10. By: Bergmann, Holger; Thompson, Kenneth J.
    Abstract: In the past, much rural development planning has relied on the concept of growth poles. With the ânew rural paradigmâ, we find that place-specific development and bottom-up approaches have become more popular than ever. Such place-based development often envisages the use of social capital. However, insofar as social capital is a local asset that is incorporated in individuals, it can easily be destroyed but not easily rebuilt. Continued out-migration and low in-migration into rural areas can have detrimental effects on social capital, and subsequently weaken bottom-up processes in the short and medium term. This paper - based on a survey of 1412 persons in northern Scotland - suggests that intensified migratory processes destroy social capital in rural remote as well as in urban areas. The results show that not only does actual out-migration decrease the available stock of social capital but also that mere intentions to out-migrate do so as well. Insofar as social capital can be built or re-built only in the long term, policies are therefore needed that offer potential out-migrants place-specific opportunities and increase the rate of integration of in-migrants.
    Keywords: migration, social capital, rural Scotland, new rural paradigm, trust, Community/Rural/Urban Development, R23, R58, Z13, D71,
    Date: 2010–08
  11. By: Jonasson, Erik (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the role of government effectiveness and social norms in the determination of informal employment. A theoretical model is developed, in which local governance affects worker productivity and in which non-compliance with local social norms constitutes a non-pecuniary cost to the worker. These effects, together with skill level, are assumed to influence the decision of the worker whether to seek employment in the formal or informal sector. The model is assessed empirically using data from Brazil, where almost half of the urban labour force is employed informally. The empirical analysis supports the predictions of the model and suggests that informal employment is lower in regions with better governance, stronger social norms for compliance with tax and labour regulation, and higher average education.
    Keywords: informal employment; government effectiveness; social norms; Brazil; Latin America
    JEL: J21 J24 O17 R23
    Date: 2010–10–26
  12. By: Kuhne, Bianka; Gellynck, Xavier; Weaver, R.D.
    Abstract: In the New Economy, the network is considered as more important than the firm itself. In this paper the focus is on chain networks which include vertical networks among chain members, horizontal networks with peers, and networking with third parties. Networks have an important role in the diffusion and adoption of innovations, thus they are the locus of innovation. While previous research focused on the firm, we contribute to the understanding of innovations in chain networks, i.e. we investigate the innovation capacity in vertical networks and how networking with peers and third parties is influencing the innovation capacity of the vertical network. We propose that there is a positive relationship between the network connections the direct chain partners have with peers and third parties and the innovation capacity of the vertical network. Data were collected from 90 direct agrifood chains in the traditional food sector. Cluster analysis suggested three clusters of chains corresponding to three distinct levels of innovation capacity: low, medium and high. Via descriptive analysis and binary logistic regression the influence of networking with peers and third parties on the innovation capacity of the vertical network was investigated. Our results confirm our proposition. However, we found that the chain partners are either horizontally or vertically networking for innovation. Nevertheless, more networking within the chain and with peers and third parties is linked to higher levels of innovation capacity. Consequently, our study adds to the research in the field of the New Economy by deepening the understanding of how innovation capacity is developed in vertical networks. We can confirm that the network is very important for the development and implementation of innovations and that the innovation capacity of one firm is linked to the innovation capacity of its chain partners. For future research we propose to investigate the link between networking for innovation and types of innovation which can be achieved. Further, future research should explore further inter-organizational links in the chain network and explore wider networks than the direct chain.
    Keywords: SMEs, chain networks, traditional food products, Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Labor and Human Capital,
    Date: 2010–10–27
  13. By: Mahvish Shami (Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Backed by a range of studies finding only limited propensity for free-riding when communities have an interest in self provision, the last few decades have seen a surge of interest in community based development amongst international organisations. A major caveat to the ‘second wave’ of collective action studies, however, is that collective action will often break down under hierarchical social relationships. This is unfortunate news for rural societies in developing countries, as these are often entrenched in patron-client networks. And while studies of collective action under clientelism are in short supply, the few that exist are generally pessimistic. This paper argues, however, that clientelist relations are highly context-specific, which matters a great deal for their implications for collective action. Making use of a natural experiment in rural Punjab, Pakistan, the paper finds that the unequal relationship between landlords and peasants does not, in and by itself, block peasant collective action. Rather, it is the interaction between clientelism and isolation that allow patrons to block community based projects. Despite still relying on powerful landlords, peasants in connected villages face no such constraints. On the contrary, their patrons assisted them in their collective endeavours, making the hierarchical network an added resource for peasants to rely upon.
    Keywords: Collective action, Clientelism, Interlinked markets, Rural road networks, Pakistan
    JEL: O18 Z13
    Date: 2010–11
  14. By: Maulana, Ardian; Situngkir, Hokky
    Abstract: The paper discusses opportunities to utilize the series of micro-blogs as provided by the Twitter in observation of opinion dynamics. The spontaneity of tweets is more, as the service is attached more to the mobile communications. The extraction of information in the series of tweets is demonstrated as in conceptual map and mention map. From the latter, the social network stylized properties, i.e.: power law distribution is shown. The exemplification of the methodology is on the 82nd commemoration of Indonesian Youth Pledge and the participatory movement of Indonesian capitol city, Jakarta.
    Keywords: Twitter; social network; social media; text analysis; conceptual map; mention map.
    JEL: C90 C19 D85 H70 D71 C78 C65 C02 H83 D72 D78 D83 E61 A14
    Date: 2010–10–30
  15. By: Niklas Potrafke (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)
    Abstract: Using the POLITY IV and Freedom House indices, Rowley and Smith (2009) found that countries with Muslim majorities enjoy less freedom and are less democratic than countries in which Muslims are a minority. Because the POLITY IV and Freedom House indices have been criticized on several grounds, I reinvestigate Rowley and Smith’s finding using the new Democracy-Dictatorship data from Cheibub et al. (2010). The empirical results confirm that countries with Muslim majorities are indeed less likely to be democratic.
    Keywords: Islam, religion, democracy, political institutions
    JEL: Z12 O11 P16 P48 F59
    Date: 2010–11–04
  16. By: Marco Faillo (Department of Economics, University of Trento); Daniela Grieco (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Luca Zarri (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: In the framework of a finitely repeated public goods game with costly punishment options, we introduce a novel restrictive setup where a principle of legitimacy holds, in the sense that only virtuous behavior (that is, being a high contributor) allows one to gain access to sanctioning opportunities (‘entitlement’) and only wrongful behavior (that is, being a low contributor) makes one a potential target of peer punishment (‘desert’). As a consequence, acting virtuously guarantees that it will not be possible to be punished by less virtuous subjects (‘immunity’). These restrictions, by allowing for ‘legitimate punishment’ only, rule out by construction so called antisocial punishment as well as vengeful behavior. Moreover, we manipulate the amount of information over others’ contributions that subjects receive before making their punishment decisions. Our preliminary results show that restrictions lead to an increase of cooperation levels and virtuous restrictions combined with detailed feedback on peers’ contribution significantly increase contribution levels and make cooperation sustainable over time.
    Keywords: Experimental Economics, Public Good Games, Costly Punishment, Cooperation, Legitimacy, Immunity
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 D23 D72
    Date: 2010–11

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